How social media buzz can help marketers understand what they’ve done right, and focus on those things moving forward.
With all of the excitement surrounding the E3 Expo of 2015, an annual video game conference that took place in mid June, social media became a battleground of sorts as brand loyalists from every corner defended their console of choice.
— JONATHAN (@jjblasvegas) June 15, 2015
Love hearing that Xbox is completely kicking the PS4’s butt at E3. Way to put Sony in the dirt Microsoft — ES22 (@estonerfaith20) June 16, 2015
Traditionally, gaming bloggers and websites take to their keyboards after the three-day event to determine the “winner” of the conference, based upon their personal opinions and judgments of the key games and features announced by each of the major companies. While the insights of these sources into the gaming community are very helpful, there truly is no “winner” of the E3 conference, as it isn’t a competition, it’s an expo to showcase up-and-coming games and features. But, by examining the conversations and sentiment on Twitter of the community interested in E3, we can garner some more information to get a better look at who created the most social media buzz. In turn, by understanding these social users interested in discussing key products at this conference, businesses can strategically plan for future marketing endeavors relating to the products displayed at E3.
A great indicator of social media buzz is the sheer volume of conversation surrounding the expo, and exactly what or who that conversation is focused on. Over the duration of the conference, there were over 880,000 tweets talking about E3, the Xbox One, the Playstation 4, and the Wii U, along with the games and announcements surrounding those consoles. Breaking down these tweets into three categories separated by which console they pertained to, it becomes quite obvious where the bulk of the conversation is coming from:
During the course of the conference, tweets about the Xbox One far eclipsed the volume of tweets about the Playstation 4 or the Wii U at comparable times during their press conferences. Unfortunately, volume alone doesn’t tell the whole story. While the Xbox One surpassed its competitors in numbers, what those tweets are about says a lot about the social media buzz surrounding the system. By breaking the conversation down into categories, separating tweets about new features, upcoming games, brand love, and backlash/negativity, the conversation becomes much clearer:
During the days surrounding the conference, tweets about the Xbox One focused heavily on Features and Brand Love, taking in 71% of the conversation between 6/14 and 6/18.
Xbox is hitting it out of the park so far wow! #XboxE3
— TitanSlayer (@Dan_Cavalieri) June 15, 2015
Contrary to this, tweets about the Playstation 4 during this time period focused primarily on Games, with a surprising 26% of the conversation actually focusing on their main competitor, the Xbox One, and negative comments about that system. Conversation pertaining to the Wii U had the most interesting mix of topics for brands we evaluated, with an enormous 68% focusing on games, and virtually no conversation concerning its competitors.
This dichotomy between the topics of Brand Love and Backlash/Negativity tells some interesting things about the sentiment of the fans during and after the E3 Expo. On average, Xbox One fans seemed much more pleased with the announcements Microsoft made at the conference, and expressed that sentiment through great amounts of Brand Love and positive tweets. On the other hand, many Playstation 4 fans took to Twitter to bash the Xbox One or express their opinion that their system was better, and almost completely refrained from expressing their satisfaction with the announcements at E3 of their console of choice.
xbox one is not as good as ps4 and has terrible exclusives and i see no reason why somebody would choose an xbox one over ps4
— squid kid #RIPIwata (@inklingmarie) June 16, 2015
Does this mean that, as a community, Playstation 4 loyalists were displeased with the announcements of Sony? Or were they just jealous of specific announcements by Microsoft? This sentiment could also speak to the general attitude of the Playstation 4 community, as the community surrounding the Wii U seemed completely uninterested in the conversation about its competitors and focused only on the Wii U. Interestingly enough, during the Playstation 4 conference at E3, tweets expressing a Brand love actually fell in comparison to the other systems, which each had increased Brand Love during their respective conferences. While there is no true “winner” of E3, social media gives us a lot of clues to show what gamers were really talking about during the expo. Microsoft generated the most positive social media buzz around its system, the Xbox One, by far. They led the expo in volume of tweets and Brand Love, and created a very positive conversation around the features and games they announced during their conference. Both the Playstation 4 and the Wii U trailed behind in tweets, and also had very different conversations relating to their conferences and their competitors.
This kind of information is key to examine consumers’ reactions to certain types of announcements, and understand what encourages them to talk positively about their brand of choice. Using this consumer specific information gleaned from various social media platforms, marketing teams can better organize their plans regarding big reveals or press conferences, to successfully harness the social conversation surrounding these businesses in a positive manner. In addition, this information also gives them a good idea of what exactly to focus on in future product marketing endeavors, and what their customers are most excited about.